New York, NY, February 16, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said it was "greatly disappointed" by the United Arab Emirates refusal of a visa to Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer to participate in this week's Dubai Tennis Championship.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
In recent years, we began to see an effort by the UAE to overcome years of a policy of isolation of Israel and Jews with a more open policy in commerce, industry, education and tourism. Therefore, we are greatly disappointed and find the UAE decision to refuse entry to Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer to compete in Dubai a troubling step backward.
This decision violates the guidelines of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), which sponsors the tournament. International sporting events should not be politicized. We hope that Dubai and the WTA will be able to quickly find a satisfactory solution to the problem.
However, if they are not able to do so, and Israelis continue to be barred, we believe the WTA should consider an appropriate response to this violation of its rules, including removing the Dubai Tennis Championship from its 2010 tour.
This unfortunate decision could be especially problematic for the numerous American businesses, academic institutions, movie studios and others who were invited to establish or are considering partnerships and programs in the UAE on the understanding that they could operate as they do in their home countries.
When an ADL delegation visited Dubai in 2007, we were encouraged by assurances from the leadership that they would continue to pursue a policy of bringing businesses and academic institutions from Europe and the U.S. to Dubai. This latest action is clearly counter to those assurances.
We are hopeful Dubai will quickly return to the meaningful and productive path of openness it had been pursuing.
Read more online on our web site at /PresRele/IslME_62/5469_62
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.